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Cannes Lions gives PR a spotlight—how’s your trophy shelf looking?

by | Jun 7, 2018 | Public Relations

Although we’re still a couple months away from opening up our annual Stars of PR Awards for entries, it’s worth a summertime pause to recognize one of the industry’s finest spotlights of the year—the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, and particularly the PR Lions, coming up in a few weeks. It’s a veritable who’s who of cutting-edge creative talent, and essentially the Oscars for public relations and its brethren fields.

This year’s iconic gathering in the South of France will be another star-studded event, with leading personalities from the entertainment and creative spaces around the globe in attendance, along with chief comms and brand officers from global brands like Apple, Uber, Samsung, Mars Wrigley, AT&T, Tommy Hilfiger and Pfizer making presentations.

Just like with our own Bulldog Reporter awards programs (we just announced the illustrious winners of our 2018 Bulldog PR Awards a few weeks ago), it’s always a joy to see the most influential PR campaigns and personalities celebrated in style, especially on such a high-profile stage. It’s a great reminder for everyone who spends so much time in the PR trenches—planning creative campaigns, fending off obstacles and roadblocks, recovering from setbacks, pulling out all the stops to entice producers and reporters to come to your media events, working on shoestring budgets, executing against all odds, and landing those amazing media placements we all crave—that your clients’ success (and awe) is clearly its own reward, but it’s a sweet bonus to receive the accolades of your peers.

The jury is unanimous—PR deserves to be recognized

The PR Jury for Cannes Lions was announced last week as an expanded group of 40 practitioners from some of the world’s most influential agencies worldwide, led by Ogilvy’s global CEO Stuart Smith—although the group will not assemble in person, but will rather conduct the first stage of evaluations online before a smaller group of 10 elite jurors will meet onsite to make the final picks.

“It’s obvious that the lines between PR and other communications disciplines are blurring, and we’ll all arrive with our own opinions about what makes ‘good PR’ and what we should be looking for as indicators,” said Ketchum’s David Gallagher before last year’s festivities. He went on to share some of his own views and biases, which showcase the highminded ethos of the affair:

  • “I’m interested in recognizing work based on real, discernible audience insight.”
  • “I don’t think we should penalize work that uses or even leans on paid or owned content, but I hope we can focus on earned or shared content as the primary driver.”
  • “I hope the results of entries are measurable and bear some reasonable connection to their stated goals. I think ‘awareness’ is an acceptable outcome although less impressive than actual changes in attitude or behavior, and I’m not personally interested in AVE (advertising value equivalency) as a meaningful metric.”

Cannes Lions has been reconfigured this year into nine new “tracks” based around Reach, Communication, Craft, Experience, Innovation, Impact, Good, Entertainment, and Health. On the PR Lions’ 10th anniversary, it is especially refreshing to see earned media being primarily used to judge public relations again this year, rather than outdated AVEs.

Congrats to all the PR shining stars who will be participating, and to all the great campaigns and creative work that will get well-earned recognition later this month. We’ll see you later this summer when we open up the Stars of PR Awards so we can do some more recognizing and celebrating of our own!

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Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 12 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richardc@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter

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